Where Are You Now? — Cameron Yoho Brown
I don’t care if you cheer for the Mountaineers or consider yourself a Thundering Herd fan. There isn’t a person alive today that doesn’t get a lump in their throat recalling the catastrophic event that claimed the lives of 75 souls on November 14, 1970. That’s the night a chartered DC-9 airliner slammed into a dark hillside just short of the Tri-State Airport near Huntington, WV. The victims included almost the entire Marshall University football team, all but one of their coaches, several fans and crew. The team was returning from an afternoon football game against East Carolina University. This horrific tragedy remains a dark part of the history of Marshall University, but that certainly isn’t the whole story. When you look at the way Marshall University built its football program back to a national level, I believe potential college athletes and their parents view Marshall as not only a great place to get a solid education, but just as important, a place where the city, college community and administration will stand united with their student body in good times and bad. They certainly have been able to attract some of the most talented athletes from our area over the years, and Cameron Yoho Brown was one of the best. But before we talk about Cameron’s outstanding career in Huntington, we need to go back a little in time to see where she grew up and how she competed as an athlete in Tyler County.
Cameron Yoho Brown was born in Wheeling WV in 1990 but spent the first 4 years of her life in Middlebourne. She made the move to Sistersville with her family, and began playing sports when she was seven years old. Her dad, Kent Yoho, principal at Tyler Consolidated High School, shared some of his favorite memories of his daughter from when she was just a little tike. “Cameron has always loved sports. I can remember her shooting at a Nerf hoop that we had in the living room for hours while she was still in diapers,” recalled her dad. When Cameron became old enough to participate in youth sports, she wanted to play everything she could. It didn’t matter what the sport was, she just wanted to play some type of ball. She loved being part of a team and loved participating with all her friends. Kent explained, “She was fortunate to have a lot of good friends she grew up with who loved sports as well. They were all competitive. She and her friends played all of the time. They were even playing night tag around the neighborhood when they were in high school.”
Cameron grew up idolizing her father, Kent, more than any famous person or professional athlete. The example he set as a person and a father was unlike any other individual she knew then or has met since. “He was certainly a catalyst for my athletic career, as he had spent his whole life around sports, both playing and coaching. I don’t think he cared if I was a ballerina or a basketball player, but he did instill in me the belief that no matter what I did, I was going to put forth maximum effort,” explained Cameron. Those life lessons stuck with Cameron throughout her athletic career and certainly made their way into her educational and professional life. Her father was such a prominent part of her athletic journey; it was difficult for Cameron to select just one memory. It seemed her dad was always a part of her athletic experience. “I’m not sure there is a specific moment that I can remember, but rather a general theme of our experience together. My father was my high school basketball coach for four years, needless to say that led to some friction in the household,” recalled Cameron. She added that any member of her team or her family would confirm that he was just a little hard on her when it came to coaching, yelling or reprimanding.
While Cameron would take the occasional loss in that department on the basketball floor, her father rarely won when it came time to return home. “In the friendly confines of our house my mother, sisters and grandparents had the upper hand on him and would express their displeasure with his coaching antics. I’d be lying if I said this didn’t bring me some satisfaction. Overall though he was a great coach and just wanted what was best for me and the team, and I’ve always appreciated that,” Cameron fondly confirmed.
As Kent shared with us earlier, Cameron was gung ho to try every sport she could think of throughout her life; including softball, gymnastics and cheerleading. However, as she got further in her athletic journey, Cameron ended up just focusing on volleyball, basketball and track. “I truly believe that playing multiple sports helps make you a better all-around athlete,” emphasized Cameron.
When you want to know more about a current or past athlete, the best source of information is the player’s coach. Richard and Tracy Summers, girls varsity volleyball coaches at Tyler Consolidated knew Cameron from the time she was a little girl. Coach Tracy Summers reminisced, “Cameron grew up in our neighborhood and was friends with our son, Ryan. We watched her grow from a gangly little girl into a 6-foot-tall athlete with an amazing ability to play volleyball.” When Cameron was in Middle School, Tracy recalled she could look out the window from their home and see Cameron “peppering” (a volleyball drill) with her older sister, Nichole, for hours on end. Coach Summers recalled an incident that revealed the power Cameron held on the court, “Although skilled in many areas, Cameron was strongest when she played in the front middle. When she got “set“, everybody in the gym knew that when Cameron attacked that ball, it was going straight down to the floor on the other side of the net, and nobody was going to touch it. Cameron actually bloodied the nose of a player on the other team when one of her attacks hit that player in the face.” Now that’s some fast and furious action on the court!
Tracy also confirmed Cameron was an extremely gifted and competitive athlete, “As coaches, we always appreciate players who are talented, but it’s even better to have players who are talented AND coachable; Cameron was both.”
The other half of the talented dual coaching team at Tyler Consolidated, Head Coach Richard Summers, shared his thoughts about Cameron. “Cameron’s legacy began the summer of her freshman year, when we brought in the Marshall coaching staff to conduct our summer camp. As they walked through the door, the campers were running sprints; Cameron finished first. Mitch Jacobs, Marshall’s Head Volleyball Coach, immediately took notice and asked, ‘Who is the long-legged girl that just finished first?’ He followed her successes from that point and offered her a full Division I scholarship her senior year,” revealed the proud coach.
Coach Summers explained their plan for the team as Cameron began her senior year in 2007, “We scheduled the girls into every big tournament that we could find. We played at Oak Glen, Parkersburg, Charleston, Cabell Midland and all the way to Martinsburg, so we could play against the best big schools in the state. This helped our team improve during the season and also exposed Cameron to sportswriters and college coaches from around the state.” That year, the Lady Knights finished 43-7, won the LKC Championship and never lost a set in the sectional, regional or state tournament. At this time, the Lady Knights were playing in the AA division of the WVSSAC. Also, Cameron was a four-year starter for the Tyler Consolidated High School Volleyball Team and was named First Team All-State her sophomore, junior and senior years.
She was West Virginia Co-Player of the year her junior year and Gatorade State Player of the Year as a senior. Cameron finished her career with over 2000 career kills and had a single match high of 42 kills her junior year against Independence High School at the state tournament.
Every coach has certain games that he/she revisits when thinking about highlights in their own coaching careers. Richard Summers shared one of his, “As a coach, I will never forget the state championship game in November of 2007 when we needed one point to secure the championship, and Cameron was on the bench. We got serve back and Cameron got up and sprinted onto the floor. The noise was deafening and everyone, including the other team, knew Cameron was going to be set. She hit it straight down and the celebration began.” Those are the kind of memories coaches treasure. Can’t you just picture the pandemonium erupting for the team, players and fans?
Coach Richard Summers shared a memory of her college career at Marshall, “Cameron was extremely gifted and in short, was born to play volleyball. In college, she was tested and was the quickest female athlete in all sports at Marshall. She lettered four years at Marshall and on senior night her coach stated that she was the best high school player to ever play volleyball in the state of West Virginia.” No wonder Coach Summers is proud of his athlete; that’s quite the compliment for a division one college player.
Although we have highlighted volleyball, Cameron graduated from TCHS in 2008 and received many awards during her career in all 3 sports. In 2006 and 2007, in Volleyball, she was the WV Co-Player of the year and 1st team All State (Captain). From 2006 through 2008 in Basketball, Cameron was second team OVAC, 2nd Team All State, 1st Team LKC, and All Mid Ohio Valley selection. She was a career 1,000 point scorer. In Track, in 2005 and 2006, she was a member of the State Champion Shuttle Relay Team. In 2007 she was 1st place in the LKC 100 meter high hurdles and 1st place in the shuttle hurdle relay Champions.
Today you can find Cameron still making her home in Huntington after graduating from Marshall in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. She was a four year starter in volleyball while attending Marshall where she was also named Athlete of the Week. Another accolade came when she was named to two different all-tournament teams.
Cameron also enjoys a successful career as an assistant director of therapy at the Autism Service Center, which is a non-profit organization. She recently assisted the organization is setting up ASC Therapies, a pediatric outpatient clinic, that offers physical, occupational and speech therapy services to children with developmental disabilities. Cameron explained, “I have lived here ever since coming to college at Marshall. My husband, Andrew, is the assistant athletic director of events and facilities at Marshall so I believe this is where we will be for a while.” Most of Cameron’s closest friends are people that she met through playing sports, both in high school and college.
Being a part of so many different teams, she feels fortunate to have been able to develop strong relationships and bonds with people she is still in touch with today.
Cameron and Andrew Brown will be celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary this coming June, and are the proud young parents of two fine boys; Paxton, 2 years old, and Miles, just 6 months.
In closing, being a dad of a daughter myself, I think it is fitting to give Kent the final word on Cameron because dads always carry a soft spot for their girls. “Obviously, I’m proud of my daughter’s accomplishments. She had a very successful high school and college career. But, what I’m most proud of, is the adult and mother she has become,” beamed her proud pop! And you know what? Silver Knights everywhere and folks from all over Tyler County couldn’t agree more.